What does it mean to persevere? Is it to grasp onto the frailty of hope and march through a bitter storm of challenges and obstacles? Is it to hold onto the ropes of chance and- against all advice and notion of safety- swing wildly over an open space of pitfalls and doubts? Furthermore, what does it take? Is steadfast determination all that we make of it, or does ingenuity and wit play their vital hands in our continuity? Whatever we each may define ‘perseverance’ and its various forms as, Scottish politician Walter Elliot likely best described its process when he once famously stated, “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races- one after another.” Hurdle after hurdle brings its own challenges that splinter off into their own 100-meter dashes worth of obstacle courses that we must smartly and swiftly navigate to reach our overarching goal. To accomplish that, we need to be equally agile and eager, and Norwich pop-punkers Crossing The Limits have hit the ground running in their career with their debut EP Perseverance. Melodious and multivalent, Perseverance is a 5-track expedition into forging one’s own path via pop-punk’s standardized tropes and trials.
Like a bullet in the chamber, Crossing The Limits is locked and loaded with tight-knit mellifluousness, ready to burst forth and pierce the ear of any listener in a fierce culmination of what is ultimately innate harmonious aptitude. Such aptitude is clearly tacit, blooming in colorful variants of poppy melodic licks and toe-tapping syncrosity that can be found foremost in the opening track “Won’t Settle” and later in tracks such as “Chaos” and “My Own Way.” Brazen and unabashed is what best describes Perseverance’s raw energetic style, with Crossing The Limits paving their own path with a clear-cut thrash-and-burn punctuality in their musicality. Though the foundations in burgeoning dynamicism is prevalent across all members, vocalist Rachael Hollands’ stands as the apex potentiator in her unique mix of sobering-yet-shrill singing style that is easily comparable to Stand Atlantic’s Bonnie Frasier and Tonight Alive’s Jenna McDougal. Harmonious vocal thirds give a certain edge and promptness to easily-accessible lyricism, just as soaring licks and riffs give tasteful tinge to the foundations of pop-punk riffage that streamlines a certain eager innovation to peppy tropes. To call the EP’s soundscape “upbeat” is to greatly oversimplify, as Perseverance openly displays a sanguine mentality of the early 2000s in instrumentation that borders on the neo-saccharine but strays far from mawkish counterparts in pop-rock subgenres.
While Crossing The Limits soars in some areas, Perseverance is not without obstacles. Such blockades stem from a primary source of a lack of distinguishability. Of course, pop-punk- like all music- is formulaic, but a range of diversity in album arrangement is needed. Perseverance’s singles- all of which could stand confidently on their own- are so similar to one another that their significance becomes muddled. The individuality of each musician and each track disappears almost instantaneously in what becomes the band’s second largest issue: their willingness to show deference to tropes. This pitfall is best exemplified in “Predictable,” in which the song’s title also marks its listenability as such. Similarly, every track starts with a copycat approach- something that takes away from the album’s overall energy and exhausts the periodic punch that pop-punk so desperately clings to. “Tricks of the Trade” can only carry a band so far, and Crossing The Limit still has yet to find their exact expressive niche within the parameters of their genre. What they have to combat it with currently is their audibly unwavering energy, but it needs to be refurbished and refined with dynamic directional output.
Overall, Crossing The Limits’ Perseverance is an agile and determined first step in a series of right directional choices. Deftly melodic and shamelessly poppish, Perseverance is a compelling and crowd-pleasing first attempt in a genre that is oversaturated in entrenching suburban gloom. Where the EP falters, vivacity picks up the slack- showcasing the band’s commitment to their genre’s excitability maintains their steadfast energy, which ultimately drives the album home. There is no doubt that with time and staunch dedication to their craft, Crossing The Limits will see a long-running race to mainstay success- Perseverance is merely the first step. (Katt Hass)
Beer Pairing: St. Andrews Brewhouse – Cork Cutters IPA: Cork Cutters IPA is one of this popular brewhouse’s most widely published IPAs to date, primarily because it’s an overall easy-going, amicable affront to the palate. This light-to-medium-bodied IPA is soft of the malts and features just enough kick from the hops, giving a soft mouthfeel that’s mildly drying. Aromas of fruits complement a slightly sweeter flavor profile that prominently features a cascade of hops- crafting a sweet, yet punchy attitude that best befits an EP of a similar caliber.
For Fans Of: Tonight Alive, Neck Deep, Stand Atlantic